Confirming what we had previously speculated, the Williams F1 team has announced its five-year association with title sponsor, telecommunications giant AT&T, has come to an end.
We had speculated earlier this week that the association – which began in 2007 – had come to an end when the team updated its web address and logo, along with its social media sites, to remove all references to AT&T, and now a formal communication from the Grove-based outfit has confirmed the termination of the agreement.
“I can confirm that the team’s contract with AT&T reached its conclusion on 31st December 2011 and will not be renewed for the 2012 season,” a team spokesperson said.
The split comes off the back of the team’s worst-ever performance in Formula 1 as a constructor, where it netted just five points and finished ninth in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
According to reports in the Reuters news agency, the team is in “advanced negotiations” with another telecommunications company regarding a prospective sponsorship deal, although it is not clear if this will be a naming rights sponsor.
One suggestion is that the team’s Qatari links could mean that this sponsor is the country’s national telco, Qtel.
It is also widely tipped that the Qatar National Bank is set to be confirmed as a major sponsor of the team ahead of the 2012 season.
The team is also still to name its second driver alongside Pastor Maldonado, with Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna believed to be the leading candidates for the drive.
[Image via Sutton Images]